doshaPitta dosha is the mind-body constitution that is made up of the two elements fire and water. People who have a dominant pitta dosha tend to be intense, responsive, sociable, and knowledgeable. They can also be judgemental, critical, and fanatic. They have strong opinions, are not afraid to speak their mind, and have a strong intellect.

Physically, pitta dosha types tend to be of medium build and medium weight. They have smooth features and oily skin. Pittas, being made up of the element fire, tend to often feel hot. Of all three doshas, pittas have the strongest digestion, also due to the fire element. There are not many foods that pitta types cannot eat. They crave sweet, bitter, and astringent foods. Emotionally, they are quick to feel anger, hate, and jealousy.

When pitta is in excess, a person will feel anger, hostility, and judgment. They will be argumentative, controlling, and experience intolerance of delays. Inflammation, infections, fever, acne, and excessive hunger or thirst may exist. Intolerance of heat, bloodshot eyes, and migraines are common when pitta is out of balance.

There are a number of practices that can help to balance pitta. A yoga practice that is not too straining in nature is best. Lengthening of the ujjayi exhalation helps to cool the body and mind. For pitta dominant types, it is important to let go of attaining a perfect practice or pose. Surrendering to the teacher’s instruction without self-judgment is crucial. Finding steadiness and ease can be a particular challenge for pittas.

An excellent mantra for pitta types is: Lokah samastah sukinoh bhavantu (May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute to that happiness and to that freedom for all). Repeating this mantra during meditation is a healing practice for pitta imbalance.

When it comes to diet, balancing pitta dosha involves eating foods that are bitter, sweet, and astringent while reducing pungent, salty, and sour foods. Reducing “hot” foods such as tomatoes, peppers, radishes, black pepper, cloves, mustard, and table salt is best. Increasing consumption of coriander, cumin, fennel, and cinnamon along with cool foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits will be helpful. Eliminating coffee and alcohol is best.

Whether your dosha is pitta dominant, vata-pitta dominant, or pitta-kapha dominant, many of the practices that help to balance pitta will be helpful to you at some point. By noticing your own tendencies, you will be better able to do what you can to balance your doshas when you find an imbalance. You will likely find that you understand yourself more because of this practice.